Black History Month: Holley’s BBQ- The Inventor of the Curly Fry

  • by Catherine Tortorici
  • February 18, 2022

When describing the American South, it is impossible to not mention the influence of barbecue culture. During a hot summer day, there are few better feelings than gathering with a group of friends/family and enjoying a deliciously smokey treat. However, for some, there is a lack of understanding of the historical significance of Black owned barbecue businesses in Jacksonville. 

Holley’s BBQ- First Building

Source: Holley’s BBQ Instagram Page

Holley’s BBQ is Jacksonville’s oldest and longest continuously operating barbecue restaurant. In 1937, Jack Holley opened his doors and began servicing the Northside community. Since then, this historic space ( 3604 Moncrief Rd) has played a vital role by employing, feeding, and inspiring the surrounding neighborhood residents. 


Holley’s BBQ- Current Building

Source: Wendy Holley’s Instagram Page

In addition to this, Holley’s BBQ is said to be the place where curly fries were invented. According to Wendy Holley, who currently runs the business, “[her uncle] Leroy made the machine that curled the fries”  and her father could have patented the technology “but he couldn’t read or write.” With that being said, if you happen to be on the Northside of Jacksonville or consider yourself a barbecue connoisseur, then this spot is a must try. Their menu includes: chicken wings/tenders, ribs, curly fries, cakes, sweet potato pie, and more. Don’t forget the side of sweet and tangy sauce!



Article by Wilshem Pennick


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